PC Components, Peripherals And Gadget Reviews And News

Dig into our deep-dive product reviews and news of PC components from processors, to motherboards, graphics cards (GPUs), sound cards, and storage, along with other gadgets and peripherals that complete the computing experience. Whether you're a DIY PC enthusiast builder or just looking to read-up on what should be inside or connected to your next pre-built PC, here's where you'll find all the nuts and bolts sorted on what makes modern computer systems tick, as well some of the best user interface devices to go with them.

Lately, it feels like the good, old, reliable hard disk drive (HDD) doesn't get any respect. When it comes to storage, Solid State Drives (SSDs) are getting all the attention these days--and it's no wonder, considering the speed, durability, low-power, and silent-running attributes of current solid state drives. But SSDs are also very expensive and offer relatively low-capacities when compared to traditional HDDs. The vast majority of systems that use some sort of fixed drive for storage--be they desktops, workstations, or servers--still use HDDs. And when it comes to maximum storage capacity in a 3.5-inch form factor, you simply can't get any higher these days than a 2TB HDD. While most users... Read more...
The night before the first day of CES is typically filled with numerous parties and pre-show expos loaded with hot new products and technologies. We attended one such event last night, Digital Experience, where a number of major players were peddling their wares. While at the event, we got to see a real-live NVIDIA Fermi-based graphics card installed in a Maingear demo system, a handful of slick new notebooks, netbooks, and smartbooks from Lenovo, and even played with a Nexus One--among other things. Take a look...     NVIDIA GF100, aka Fermi Up and Running In A Maingear SHIFT PC Nvidia's highly anticipated graphics card was proudly on display at their booth located on the center... Read more...
The more well-known industry trade shows, like CES, Computex, and E3, are not necessarily the only venues where technology journalists can get a gander at the latest-and-greatest offerings from a bevy of tech companies. Pepcom is a Florida-based company that holds mini tech trade-shows for the media throughout the year, and its most-recent event was the Digital Experience Rock 'N' Bowl held in New York City on June 24. (Each of Pepcom's events has a theme, which helps create a somewhat of a party atmosphere. Also, one sure way to get journalists to come to an event is to offer free food and drinks.) We spent some time at the event, speaking with a number of vendors about their latest wares. We... Read more...
We like a good combo here at HotHardware, and we have a new one to add to the list. Right up there with peanut butter and jelly, Mario and Luigi, milk and cookies, we'd like to add dual GPUs and factory overclocks. If you are a regular reader, you probably already know we are fans of dual GPU video cards, and we have a strong affinity for factory overclocked video cards as well. And when a company combines the two, that's just fine in our book. So, it goes without saying that we were excited to check out Diamond's overclocked Radeon HD 4870 X2 XOC graphics card (model number: 4870X2PE52GXOC). As you probably already know, the Radeon HD 4870 X2 employs two RV770 GPUs, each of which is complemented by... Read more...
Throughout most of the 1990s, Diamond Multimedia was one of the major players in the graphics card world.  Their well made cards with solid performance resulted in some of the most well known brand names of the time including the Speedstar, Stealth, and Viper.  After merging with S3 Incorporated in 1999, the resounding failure of their joint contribution: the Diamond Viper II Z200 based on S3's Savage 2000, eventually led to the combined Diamond/S3 company backing away from third-party graphics cards.  In 2003, however, Best Data stepped in and purchased the rights to the brand name and assets from SONICblue Incorporated, including the Stealth... Read more...
We’re willing to bet that many of you have wildly varied opinions of Dell. Some no doubt consider them a huge, monolithic corporation who pushes out generic computers without a soul; while others consider them to be pioneers of the low-cost PC movement, who (almost) single-handedly made computers available to nearly every price point. No matter what your opinion of Dell as a company is, it is difficult to find many people in IT circles who dislike their monitor division. Dell’s lineup of flat panel displays have proven themselves to be reliable, stylish, and typically right on par price-wise with some of the most inexpensive LCD monitors on the market. They’ve delivered exceptional bang... Read more...
While the average PC enthusiast may gawk endlessly over pages of reviews of high-end power-hungry graphics cards, jaw-slackened by the frame rates and 3DMark score that he or she might find there, at the end of the month it is the low to mid-range card that is purchased most often than not.  Price typically comes into consideration, but it's not the only concern.  Availability, compatibility, and other issues factor in to a buyers decision as well.  Sometimes it simply boils down to the fact that the average Joe clearing stages in Peggle or watching the latest videos on YouTube simply doesn't need all of that horsepower.AMD's Radeon HD 3650 is one of the few cards... Read more...
With recent price cuts to current generation Radeon HD 3800 series cards, due to increased competition from new mainstream graphics cards from NVIDIA, there is a large gap in ATI's product stack between the sub-$200 Radeon HD 3870 and the now roughly $400 Radeon HD 3870 X2.  Until AMD readies a new batch of GPUs to fill this hole in their product stack, board partners are left to tweak current designs to entice potential consumers.Diamond is one of a group of manufacturers that continue to release updated revisions of both Radeons, either by adding additional memory, raising clock speeds, or sometimes both.  The model we will be taking a look at today is the Viper Radeon HD 3850... Read more...
Like high-end graphics cards setup in multi-GPU configurations, terabyte desktop drives, and 3GHz quad-core processors, 30-inch wide screen LCDs cater to what we like to call the "enthusiast" niche.  And though this niche obviously drives lower volume demand versus the mainstream, you have to remember that the enthusiast end-user is a very influential segment of the market, often times assisting in the definition of what will become mainstream technology tomorrow.  Not to mention 30 inches of screen real-estate is a professional workstation designer's nirvana, so perhaps this niche isn't as small as it would appear on the surface.  Regardless, though there are fewer... Read more...
   While doing research for this review, we realized that we had to go back nearly three years - an eternity in the PC industry - to find the last HotHardware article on optical drives.  For a comparative look at technologies, back then we were using single core Pentium 4s in Intel 865/875 boards, GeForce 6800s and 1GB of blazing fast 533MHz RAM. One of the reasons for the lack of optical drives articles is that not much has rocked this area since that time.  There have been minor bumps in speed from 16x to 18x (and now 20x) and swapping of the interface from IDE to SATA, but nothing truly earth shattering has happened.  And until the... Read more...
Just prior to the Radeon HD 2000 series' introduction, numerous rumors circulated regarding an ultra-high clocked ATI R600-based video card, that featured a large 1GB frame buffer.  Some went so far as to say the GPU would be clocked at or near 1GHz.  Spy shots even cropped up on the web showing the card in all its glory.  But sometime between then and the official launch, news of the card fizzled and when the R600 arrived in the form of the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT, it was outfitted with “only” 512MB of frame buffer memory and its GPU core and memory clock speeds, while somewhat high, didn’t come close to the numbers put forth in those early rumors. Some of AMD’s partners, however, have... Read more...
We're in the early stages of a major transition in the PC arena, much like in 2004 when Intel launched their first core logic chipset with support for DDR2 memory.  This time around, however, Intel is pushing DDR3 memory with their current crop of desktop chipsets. When DDR2 memory first hit the scene, we recommended users to tread lightly as the technology needed some time to mature.  Back then DDR2 had much higher latency than standard DDR memory and it couldn't scale to high enough clock speeds to negate its latency disadvantages.  And in many situations DDR2 memory actually performed below the bar set by standard DDR, not to mention it was much more expensive.  In time though, DDR2... Read more...
While they are still not known as a tier 1 player in the motherboard market, on par with the likes of MSI, Asus, or Gigabyte, DFI is a still a highly regarded name in many circles. DFI is one of the few companies in the market which are genuinely in tune with what overclockers and enthusiasts are interested in. Their LANParty series in particular has garnered piles of awards and is often used in many "extreme" overclocking projects due to the flexibility provided by their products. LANParty boards are flashy and over-the-top, but at their core, they have been solid through and through. DFI has been somewhat quiet as of late, their last major board to receive a lot of attention... Read more...
  Last year, we had the pleasure of taking a look at Dell's flagship Inspiron XPS M1710 notebook. Taking into account the top-notch components, excellent build quality, and best-of-class performance, we awarded the system our coveted Editor's Choice award.  Dell has since returned to market with a minor refresh of the award-winning XPS M1710 and they're aiming to build upon their successes in the DTR (desktop replacement notebook) market.  In terms of aesthetics, the revised XPS M1710 is identical to the system we previously reviewed. Given the quality finish and unique appearance of the system, this is certainly not a bad thing. In order to truly appreciate... Read more...
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